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I received a new portable speaker for my birthday after accidentally launching my old one off of a windowsill some months ago and ripping its guts out. And because I proudly drive a 13-year-old Toyota Highlander that boasts a tape/CD player but does NOT have an MP3 connection, my little JBL has enabled me to bust into full podcast-listening mode on my drives.
And I am bursting about these podcasts. I need to talk about them, and I have no passengers to punch in the arm and shout, “Oh my God, RIGHT??!!!” to.
But here you are. 🙂
Today we hover around a podcast buffet — no sneeze guard necessary — and load up our plates with some really delicious morsels about reaching our potential. I promise not to punch you in the arm.
Please share something you’ve heard recently, or turn me onto a podcast I should listen to. My Highlander and I thank you!
Potential and The Passion Fallacy
So many amazing insights during Elizabeth Gilbert’s interview on The Good Life Project. Best known for authoring Eat Pray Love, Gilbert spoke to host Jonathan Fields, who then presented it in the “Best of” episode that I came across.
Gilbert may have finally freed me from my prison. The one I allowed myself to rot in for years because I could never adequately answer the question EVERYONE tells you to answer: What’s your passion? What’s the one thing you could do and never tire of, that consumes you, that doesn’t feel like work?
You’ve heard that. Of course you’ve heard that. Everyone, everywhere, tells you to find your passion and then figure out how to make a life from it.
Except every time I faithfully filled out the worksheets or meditated or focusedfocusedfocused on it … nothing. Freaking nothing.
Seriously? I have no passion? Maybe if I focused harder.
Nope. No single driving force. Maybe that dopey ex was right, and I just chase one thing after another.
But then Gilbert was telling Fields that we’ve all been fed a bunch of horseshit — That this One Driving Passion idea is a fallacy.
Oh, Gilbert had shoveled it out herself. Piles of it.
Then one day, she received a letter on Facebook from a woman who had seen Gilbert speak at an event.
“After hearing you speak, I’ve never felt like more of a loser,” the woman said. She didn’t have one thing she’d risk everything for or that was abundantly clear. And it wasn’t because she was lazy or depressed, the woman said. In fact, she had torn herself apart trying to find it.
Gilbert called that moment an awakening: “I was like, ‘Oh my God, how many people have I done this to?’ ”
You can bounce around like a pinball and succeed
Gilbert realized that so many people she admires and loves have lived lives “that look like pinballs and pinball machines.” Convoluted paths until they finally wound up where they were supposed to be.
And then here was THE line:
“And the way they got through all those convoluted, strange mazes and paths was by following their curiosity, until their curiosity took them where they were meant to be. Which meant, sometimes, a long and tricky and often painful journey. And so that’s totally radically changed what I preach.”
That advice to follow your passion? It was kind of useless, Gilbert realized. If you do have that kind of passion, you’re already doing the thing that calls to you.
Instead: follow your curiosity.
“And so I just say, take passion off the table and just follow your curiosity,” she said. “Trust it. Take it wherever it wants to go. Believe in it, and know that whatever it leads you to, it’s gonna make for a bigger and more interesting life.”
Oh thank God. I have TONS of curiosity. I have questions for days. So maybe I finally unlock my potential by relaxing about the One True Passion thing and instead, following those questions. That seems fun. Hmmm, Clue #1 that this is right? It feels fun. Let’s do this.
Bonus quote: During the interview, Gilbert also had this to say: “When you come to the end of yourself is where all the interesting stuff starts.”
Jen Sincero is the author of You are a Badass (and most recently, You are a Badass at Making Money). A former rock star wannabe who found herself living in a souped-up garage space in her 40s, Sincero has since become a best-selling author and coach.
Plus she’s awesome in a podcast. I need to meet this woman.
Again we head to The Good Life Project, which interviewed Sincero in May 2017.
Two favorite nuggets:
1: Step into your true self and 2: Get out of your damn head
Sincero urges us to “have the audacity to let yourself be who you are fully.” And she believes that most of us know what we’re meant to do or what really turns us on. The problem is, we get stuck talking ourselves out of it because we don’t think we can make money at it or for some other reason.
And she calls bullshit on it.
“All of nature is meant to flourish, really,” she said during the interview.
What a great point.
All of nature is meant to flourish. Can you think of any species other than us silly humans that purposely thwarts itself from reaching its potential? Flowers are meant to bloom radiantly, the lion is meant to reign, birds fly as high as they can.
I decided that it’s time to remind myself that I’m part of nature.
Get Out of Your Damn Head
Second nugget: get out of your head and start moving.
Ok, sometimes you really don’t know what you’re meant to do (me, raising hand and referring back to the Liz Gilbert portion of this post). In that case, Sincero said, take baby steps. Maybe find a job that feels “sorta kinda right” and seems to point in the right direction. Try some ideas on.
You don’t have to know everything. As Sincero points out, you’ve never done this thing before. (Duh.)
But “sitting around, thinking in your head, trying to figure it out without taking action,” she said, “is a hellhole that I lived in for decades. Decades.”
So take some steps and make some moves. And OF COURSE you won’t know what the hell you’re doing.
“You don’t know how – you’ve never done it before,” Sincero says. “So shut up and just do what you know how to do, and take big, scary risks all the time.”
Stop Sabotaging Yourself
I mixed in my first-ever audio book last month thanks to a free trial membership of Audible. The audio thing allowed me to blast through a book in four days that probably would’ve taken me a few weeks to read.
The book was The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks, which I read as part of a book discussion with the smart and awesome members of a Facebook group called Business is Better Together.
The major lesson in this one: that we all have succumbed to something Hendricks calls the Upper-Limit Problem at points in our lives. Hendricks says we are comfortable reaching a certain level of success and even happiness, and when we go beyond that, we find ways to sabotage ourselves. We return to the place we know, even if it sucks.
It doesn’t make sense. And yet it also makes perfect sense.
Here’s an example I’ve been guilty of my entire life. Things are going great, even wonderful. And I think to myself that I should soak it in while I can because bad times are a-comin’.
Upper-Limit Problem. I’m expecting and anticipating to return to something lesser. I’ve done it to myself with money and with relationships. And diets. And exercise regimes. And business ideas. You name it, I’m sure I’ve sabotaged it.
As I said to group moderator Kelly McCausey, my whole life has been an Upper-Limit Problem!
Think about it: the caliber of your relationships, your health, your fitness, your financial situation. It’s all a reflection of the level of success and happiness you are comfortable with.
It’s so easy to think back to times when we started to excel in any or all of those, only to slide back inexplicably. Why would we do that? Upper-Limit Problem. We started to enter a zone we didn’t understand how to navigate.
The book is full of great ideas on how to get past your threshold plus one freaky Einstein-ish chapter about time and how we’ve gone about it all wrong. He says we make time … as in, we literally make time. (I don’t know, still absorbing that chapter though I can appreciate the concepts in it.)
How about you? Can you think back to times when you somehow sabotaged yourself, consciously or subconsciously, because you had gone beyond what was comfortable?
Thanks for hanging out at my little metaphorical buffet! Again, please share some podcast ideas here and/or chime in with your thoughts on the ones I mentioned.
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